Thunder three-point barrage ensures series split with raptors – raptors republic gas ninjas


Well, Nurse’s Raptors did split, but the compete aspect of the equation isn’t open to debate. Toronto battled from the opening tip, showcased the ball movement that was oh so riveting for three quarters against the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Wednesday for good stretches once again, and if not for a full moon that saw their below-average long-distance shooting opponents erupt for 20-of-43 shooting from beyond the arc (they shot 13-of-43 on Wednesday and ranked 24th in three-point percentage entering the game), would have come away with a convincing sweep of the Thunder in the span of three days.

It’s not often you shoot 49 percent from the field, 52 percent on 25 three-point attempts and 85.7 percent on 21 free-throw attempts and still lose, yet that’s what happened to the Raptors on Friday night. If there was gas and supply shreveport one facet of the game in which they shot themselves in the foot, it was turnovers. Pascal Siakam and Kawhi Leonard, despite on the surface combining for 62 points on efficient shooting percentages, turned the ball over 15 times.

This is where grade 9 electricity unit test answers the absence of Kyle Lowry is felt. With Oklahoma City developing some familiarity with what the Raptors look to run on Wednesday, it was clear that one of the adjustments they made was to pay closer attention to Toronto’s lesser names and try and beat Toronto as the sum of its parts. With two central characters looking to orchestrate the offense, especially late in the game, defenses can really bear down and take away actions.

This is also where Marc Gasol maintaining his scoring threat early and often enough can play a significant role. He is unselfish to a fault, and that it took until late in the fourth quarter for his first field goal attempt to arrive is something the entire team should take accountability for, something Fred VanVleet did openly after the game.

Gasol has been an incredible hub of the offense from the elbows throughout his time in Memphis and has extended that to Toronto. The point VanVleet makes at the end piqued my interest, though. If the Spaniard is never selfish in seeking out his own offense, teams will happily play him for the pass, taking away angles that may well be there if he’s thrown it in the ocean a few times. His role as a passer is vital, but if the ball is primarily going to be in the hands of Leonard towards the end of games, he needs to be viewed as a scoring threat as well.

In many ways, this is much the same problem Lowry presents when he’s in his own head about his shot and becomes reluctant to let it fly through his struggles. He does so much to impact the game in other ways, but sometimes, you just need the impact of putting the ball in the bucket more than electricity how it works anything. Except, in Gasol’s case, there are no poor shooting percentages to suggest he’s even remotely close to declining shots because he doesn’t have the confidence to make them. As VanVleet alludes to, Gasol is simply too good as a scorer to place himself so far down the totem pole eon gas card top up. There were some very encouraging signs when he was picking-and-popping and ramping up his three-point attempts the past few games but this game was a step back.

Depending on your view of the prism, the swiftness with which the Thunder took control of the game may also ring some alarm bells. A 13-point third quarter lead evaporating and transforming into a 10-point deficit in the span of just under 12 game minutes is definitely something assistant coach Adrian Griffin will be clipping video from for the team’s next video session, but this is also where one has to account for the urgency with which Oklahoma City played this game and tip your hat to an incredibly hot shooting night. This was a desperate team looking to avoid the Golden State Warriors in the first round and perhaps even a little snake bitten from their home loss a couple of nights ago.

The Thunder made six 3-pointers between the final 5:13 of the third quarter and the first minute of the fourth, before making three more in the span of a minute-and-a-half in the middle of the fourth. After a third quarter timeout with about two-and-a-half minutes remaining, Nurse rolled with a Fred VanVleet-Jeremy Lin-OG Anunoby-Pascal Siakam-Serge Ibaka unit, and that was when the Thunder went to town. They outscored the bp gas prices ny Raptors 11-1 to close the quarter and never looked back. Once Lowry returns, that’s just not a unit you expect to see much of in the playoffs as he should eat most of the off-ball minutes at the two-guard.

Toronto had no answer for Schroder in particular, the German finishing with 26 points, seven assists and six rebounds in 31 minutes off the bench. Westbrook has received praise for being willing to take a backseat to Paul George’s MVP-calibre season, but it should be noted that Schroder has had full license to step in to this team’s rotation and unabashedly be himself. His shooting numbers have dropped significantly over the past month-and-a-half, but this was a much needed funk-snapper.

George is another Thunder player who has seen his game tail off since the All-Star break, but gas out he gave the Raptors all they could handle on this night. Whether it was Leonard, Siakam, Danny Green or Norman Powell, George was in control throughout the night and made several critical three-pointers that either kept his team afloat or helped the Thunder draw separation as the game wore on.

There were several fun duels between George and Leonard, and the fact that Toronto’s All-Star was able to fully engage in the battle with 78 minutes over the two games is probably the most encouraging takeaway of all from this game. With the playoffs on the horizon (just three weeks away!!), it’s important for Leonard to start ramping up his activity. Going up against one of the best and playing at a level that appears to encroaching peak levels will undoubtedly boost the confidence he has in his body, something he seemed to suggest after the game as well.

Split or no split, the Raptors got a preview in the fourth quarter and overtime of Wednesday’s game and for most of the second half of Friday’s game of the compete level they need to be at come playoff time. It may be a little hard to conjure that level of intensity having all but sewn up the two-seed, but the inflexibility of not being able to roll with one of your best players as a stabilizing factor when the team gets a little “sea sick” also showed.

Having their best player who has electricity voltage in canada often missed games on the heels of playing an overtime game or just generally stressful minutes against stiff competition will give Toronto plenty of reason to believe the best is yet to come. Still, while the ceiling is clearly visible, there are still some nuts and bolts to fasten to ensure this season doesn’t go to waste.